Watching your senior loved one begin to struggle with memory issues can be extremely difficult. While there’s no way to make this difficulty disappear completely, there are ways to make things easier for both you and your loved one. Brightwater Senior Living has compiled a list of a few ways that you can help your loved one deal with their memory loss while also making the process easier for you.
It may be frustrating needing to repeat things to your loved one over and over again, especially when it happens multiple times in the same conversation. Remember that the frustration goes both ways. In fact, your loved one may become defensive and angry and insist you never told them about whatever they forgot. Try not to lose your temper and avoid phrases like “Don’t you remember?” and “I already told you,” which are painful reminders that your loved one is experiencing memory loss.
Focus on Things They Do Remember
You may notice that while your loved one struggles to remember daily activities or things they’ve done or spoken about recently, they remember events from decades ago with perfect clarity. People with Alzheimer’s or other memory loss disorders tend to retain their long-term memories better than short-term ones. Make it a habit to reminisce with your loved one about “the good old days” – talk about old jobs, old friends, and even old vacations. It’ll be a fun, comforting conversation for both of you.
Forgive & Forget
People with dementia or Alzheimer’s may become aggressive or belligerent when confronted with new information or when they’re confused about their surroundings. Don’t try to reason with them or argue against them. Instead, acknowledge their feelings of anger or confusion and apologize that they’re feeling this way. Then steer the conversation in another, calmer direction by asking about dinner, commenting on the weather, or relating something that happened to you earlier. It’s best not to linger on unpleasant moments.
Create New Memories
Not every interaction with your senior loved one needs to involve a conversation that can aggravate their memory. Instead, engage in activities that they might enjoy. They may not remember all their favorite pastimes, but you do. Pick a quiet activity – anything from watching a movie to gardening to helping prepare a meal. Your loved one will appreciate having something stimulating to do, and you’ll appreciate the company.
We hope that these tips were able to give you some ideas for ways to deal with your loved one’s memory problems. For more suggestions about activities, senior living, and tough conversations, check out the Brightwater blog.